About three years ago, the New York Times reported:
An unusual coalition of largely older and conservative former military men and younger, left-leaning law students [from the University of Chicago Law School], [have launched] a joint campaign for one of the most unlikely causes: clemency for troops convicted of killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That unlikely team has represented and obtained the early release of a number of high-profile wartime convicts, including SGT Evan Vela (CAAFLog case page), 1LT Michael Behenna (CAAFLog case page), SGT Michael P. Williams (covered by the LA Times, here), PFC Andrew Holmes (covered on this blog, here); SSgt Lawrence Hutchins III (CAAFLog news page) (covered by the Washington Times, here); Pvt Corey Clagett (covered by Fox News, here); and SPC Franklin Dunn (profiled, here). [Update: Input from a reader has provided greater clarity concerning the services which the above-referenced coalition, United Patriots, has provided to these men. The menu of services offered may have differed depending on the case. Some men may have received only monetary support from United Patriots, some may have received only support by civilian pro bono counsel, and some men, as the New York Times reported, may have received the assistance of law students from the University of Chicago School of Law.]
The effort to obtain pardons or other clemency for men convicted of wartime murder is back in the news (here and here). Behenna has followed-up his parole with an effort to obtain a pardon. That effort has gained the approval of the Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, who has written a favorable letter to the President.
This renewed push for leniency may be partially inspired by the pardon of Kristian Saucier, a Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to illegally retaining photographs of classified areas of a nuclear submarine. On March 10, the President announced that pardon by Tweet:
Congratulations to Kristian Saucier, a man who has served proudly in the Navy, on your newly found Freedom. Now you can go out and have the life you deserve!